Museum specimen data predict crop damage by tropical rodents.
Museum collections constitute a massive store of information on biological diversity. We used museum specimen data to generate ecological niche models that provide predictions of geographic distributions of native rodent pest species and agricultural census data that summarize the geographic distribution of nine crops in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, as well as crop losses between planting and harvest. Herein, we show that crop damage is related significantly to the predicted presence of rodent species for seven of nine crops. Museum collections may thus provide important baseline information for designing land-use and agricultural pest-management programs. (+info)
Classification of three airborne bacteria and proposal of Hymenobacter aerophilus sp. nov.
Three aerobic, gram-negative, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming, red-pigmented, airborne bacteria (I/26-Cor1T, I/32A-Cor1 and I/74-Cor2) collected in the Museo Correr (Venice, Italy) were investigated to determine their taxonomic status by analysing their biochemical, physiological and chemotaxonomic features and the G+C content of genomic DNA and by comparing their genomic fingerprints. Additionally, the almost complete 16S rRNA gene sequence of strain I/26-Cor1T was analysed. The three strains were nearly identical in their morphological, physiological, biochemical and chemotaxonomic properties. The strains contained a menaquinone system with the predominant menaquinone MK-7 and a fatty acid profile with C15:0 anteiso, C15:0 iso and C16:1 predominant. Phosphatidylethanolamine and several unidentified lipids were detected in the polar lipid profiles. The polyamine pattern consisted of sym-homospermidine as the major compound. meso-Diaminopimelic acid was found as the characteristic cell-wall diamino acid. The DNA base composition of the three strains ranged from 60 to 63 mol% G+C. Phylogenetically, strain I/26-Cor1T was most closely related to Hymenobacter actinosclerus (95.8% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity). Physiological and genomic characteristics indicated that the two strains I/26-Cor1T and I/32A-Cor1 are representatives of the same species. The phylogenetic distance to any validly described taxon as indicated by 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities demonstrates that I/26-Cor1T and I/32A-Cor1 represent a novel species, for which the name Hymenobacter aerophilus sp. nov. is proposed, with the type strain I/26-Cor1T (= DSM 13606T = LMG 19657T). I/32A-Cor1 (= DSM 13607 = LMG 19658) is another strain of the species Hymenobacter aerophilus. Since the taxonomic status of strain I/74-Cor2 within the genus Hymenobacter was not determined unambiguously, it is designated Hymenobacter sp. I/74-Cor2 (= DSM 13611 = LMG 19659). (+info)
Mantophasmatodea: a new insect order with extant members in the Afrotropics.
A new insect order, Mantophasmatodea, is described on the basis of museum specimens of a new genus with two species: Mantophasma zephyra gen. et sp. nov. (one female from Namibia) and M. subsolana sp. nov. (one male from Tanzania). This is the first time since 1914 that a newly described extant insect taxon has proved unplaceable within a recognized order. Mantophasmatodeans are apterous carnivores. Their closest phylogenetic relationships may be to Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) and/or Phasmatodea (stick insects), but the morphological evidence is ambiguous. Raptophasma Zompro from Baltic amber is assigned to the Mantophasmatodea, revealing a wider previous range for the lineage. (+info)
The genetic origins of the Andaman Islanders.
Mitochondrial sequences were retrieved from museum specimens of the enigmatic Andaman Islanders to analyze their evolutionary history. D-loop and protein-coding data reveal that phenotypic similarities with African pygmoid groups are convergent. Genetic and epigenetic data are interpreted as favoring the long-term isolation of the Andamanese, extensive population substructure, and/or two temporally distinct settlements. An early colonization featured populations bearing mtDNA lineage M2, and this lineage is hypothesized to represent the phylogenetic signal of an early southern movement of humans through Asia. The results demonstrate that Victorian anthropological collections can be used to study extinct, or seriously admixed populations, to provide new data about early human origins. (+info)
National Museum of Dentistry exhibition: the future is now! African Americans in dentistry.
Inspired by recently published NDA II: The Story of America's Second National Dental Association and sponsored jointly by the National Dental Association Foundation and the Colgate-Palmolive Company, an historical exhibit on dentistry in the African-American community was one of the celebrations for the Golden Anniversary of the American Academy of the History of Dentistry. This exhibit premiered on Sept. 27, 2002 in the National Museum of Dentistry located on the medical/dental campus of the University of Maryland in Baltimore. The Museum recently became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Contents of the exhibit were photographs, charts, artifacts, memorabilia, etc. These materials presented an overview of African-American activities in dental education, research, patient care, general practice, dental specialities, military service, and public health. Also included were inter-racial relationships, socioeconomic developments, and participation in civil rights endeavors that played a major role in changing out-dated accepted customs. The exhibit's purpose was to celebrate dentistry's ministrations as a health professional among African Americans in particular and the nation at large over the past two centuries. Respect for and progress of black dentists paralleled that of black physicians who were instrumental in including dentist and pharmacists as equal members in the National Medical Association since the latter's inception in 1895. (+info)
Plant species descriptions show signs of disease.
It is well known that diseases can greatly influence the morphology of plants, but often the incidence of disease is either too rare or the symptoms too obvious for the 'abnormalities' to cause confusion in systematics. However, we have recently come across several misinterpretations of disease-induced traits that may have been perpetuated into modern species inventories. Anther-smut disease (caused by the fungus Microbotryum violaceum) is common in many members of the Caryophyllaceae and related plant families. This disease causes anthers of infected plants to be filled with dark-violet fungal spores rather than pollen. Otherwise, their vegetative morphology is within the normal range of healthy plants. Here, we present the results of a herbarium survey showing that a number of type specimens (on which the species name and original description are based) in the genus Silene from Asia are diseased with anther smut. The primary visible disease symptom, namely the dark-violet anthers, is incorporated into the original species descriptions and some of these descriptions have persisted unchanged into modern floras. This raises the question of whether diseased type specimens have erroneously been given unique species names. (+info)
Preserving and sharing examples of anatomical variation and developmental anomalies via photorealistic virtual reality.
Computer graphics technology has made it possible to create photographic-quality virtual specimens from real anatomical material. One technique for doing this, QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR), results in virtual specimens that are easily shared on the Internet and displayed as standalone entities or incorporated into complex programs or Web sites. A compelling use of this technology is the sharing of rare specimens such as unusual variations, developmental anomalies or gross pathology. These types of specimens have traditionally been confined to anatomical museums, but could serve a much more useful existence as freely shared virtual specimens. An example presented here is a relatively rare developmental defect in the embryonic aortic arches that results in a right-sided aortic arch coursing posterior to the trachea and esophagus. In a time of ever increasing restraints on the practical side of anatomy education, an Internet-based library of human variation and other rare specimens would be a useful supplement to students' limited exposure to the human body. Since the discovery and preparation of specimens would be the rate-limiting step in producing such a collection, we propose the establishment of a center for virtual specimen creation and preservation through a cooperative effort by gross anatomists and pathologists in contributing the source material. This collection, a work in progress, is available at www.anatomy.wright.edu/qtvr. (+info)
Short report: A new polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method to identify Anopheles arabiensis from An. gambiae and its two molecular forms from degraded DNA templates or museum samples.
We present a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method to simultaneously distinguish the two Anopheles gambiae M and S molecular forms and Anopheles arabiensis. This method uses different diagnostic sites than previously published methods, and it is based on the amplification of a smaller ribosomal DNA fragment. We have tested this protocol in a variety of samples from different geographic regions and various ages of preservation to ascertain the robustness of this protocol over a wide geographic window and on DNA templates of poor quality. This procedure is as efficient as previous ones in discriminating An. arabiensis from the two taxa in An gambiae s.s. However, it performs better than others on poor quality templates such as the ones from museum collections, and poorly stored field collected material. However, it must be noted that it does not allow the simultaneous discrimination of all the species in the An. gambiae complex. (+info)